CHAPTER ONE: Born to be a Hero (5)

     Shenon heard the dragging gait of Bornen as he lazily shuffled into the room, yet she hesitated to greet him. She couldn’t shake the sadness from her face. Instead, she gazed adoringly at the accurate rendition of her loving Dhumond, and secretly wished yet again to borrow a fraction of his strength from beyond the grave.

     Bornen yawned as deeply as a waking dog, scratching a portion of his backside as he entered. The left side of his greying mane was frazzled and wispy, clinging to the air in all directions, while the right side was pressed flatly to his face. The remnants of his slumber lingered in his glossy stare. His eyes appeared heavy and fixed in a state of inquiry as he slowly craned his neck from side to side. Noticing Shenon standing in front of a welcoming fireplace that was lit ablaze, he crossed the room and approached, extending his shaky limbs in order to warm his hands near the fire.

     He looked upon the maiden, and instantly detected her despondency. In a voice laden with succor, though just as rickety as his old bones, he said, “A mighty fine dwarf he was, and a proud father and husband too. He carried a name of honor and heroism his entire life, and will surely be remembered for as long as light shines in the Realm.” He smiled and added humbly, “I’m a proud father, just like him.”

     Shenon didn’t stir from her contemplative fixation upon Dhumond’s portrait. Several minutes passed, and nothing more was heard other than the dueling forces of the cold wind outside seeping past the windows, and the crackling logs that burned bright with flame. Finally Bornen asked awkwardly, smile fading away as he attempted to change the subject, “So . . . you . . . ahem – where’s Grom gotten off to, eh? I don’t see him pestering you for supper yet.”

     This time her glace shifted onto the elderly dwarf, and he immediately felt his blood surge with a temperate flow; she always had that familiar affect upon him. Her eyes were intensely green, like the sparkling waters of the Emeryn Lake, and they manipulated his throbbing heart like fingers against the strings of a harp. The day she had been introduced to him by Dhumond, Bornen considered her family. There was never any wonder as to why his son wished to wed this charming dwarf. Bornen’s face nearly flushed with hints of fondness when their eyes met.

     “I sent him away to collect more wood for the fireplace. He should be returning soon, I imagine. How did you sleep Papa?” The tones of her voice, though ringing with woe, sounded as sweet as an elven melody. Shenon moved to a table standing near the middle of the room, and pulling back on one of the neatly crafted wooden chairs that surrounded it, she sat down.

The End

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